Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants include students, instructors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers.
Decisions about higher education options are largely affected by financial factors, from the perspective of institution administrators that develop and deliver academic programs and from prospective students who compare the options available to help them reach their goals. Both online and on campus administrators and students must consider costs as they make these decisions. Here’s a summary of this week's discussion of how higher education costs are determined and how they affect student choices.
Tuition and fees seem to increase every year in higher education. What drives these rising costs?
- Most students aren't aware of what drives the costs, they just know that they are rising and have to find a way to afford them.
- Cuts in the amount of State or Federal funding received may make a difference in what students are asked to pay.
- Effects of the economic recession take their toll in many ways, including fewer professors and staff members retiring as planned, delayed maintenance of physical facilities begin to add up, and endowment investments have decreasing returns.
- Additional Resources: Universities' Revenue Breakdowns from Noodle Education, and Where Do Colleges Get Their Money an infographic from Good.is.
What should prospective college students consider when estimating the cost of higher education?
- Use the Net Price Calculators available on individual schools' websites. These can provide a big picture of costs.
- Measuring your "return on investment" can be challenging, but you can research potential earnings in the field you want to study and assess your own goals for education and career.
- While your college experience may be invaluable, your loans will be quantifiable.
- Consider not only today's tuition costs, but also factor in expected increases over the two, four, or more years you plan to be in school.
- Additional Resources: Is the Cost of Higher Education Worth It? An infographic presented by Noodle Education.
How do costs associated with online programs differ from those of traditional, on campus programs?
- Prospective students should look carefully at all of their options, making no assumptions about what will be least expensive based solely on online or on campus delivery.
- Public, private, for-profit and non-profit institutions have different types of program delivery available at a range of costs.
- Additional Resources: The True Cost of a College Degree: Traditional vs. Online. An infographic from OnlineDegree.com.
What are your recommendations for reducing the cost of higher education for students?
Advice for Students:
- Factor in all of your expenses (school, rent, etc.) and budget accordingly. You may have to make spending sacrifices while in school, but these will be worth it after you graduate, in terms of reduced loans.
- Apply to as many scholarships as you can. Scholarships don't have to be paid back like loans do.
- Look for basic part-time jobs on campus (or off) that allow you to work around your course schedule.
- Seek out digital alternatives with books and materials.
Institutions: explore new approaches such as the FixUC proposal, which aims to eliminate tuition and instead require students to pay 5% of their future income for 20 years.
Additional Resources: 10 Best Value Public Colleges of 2012 from Noodle Education.
Thanks to @NoodleEducation and @The_Raheel for participating in the live event and to @finaidforum, @MeghDale, @Fidelised and @ODU_DL for the mentions and RTs! Help us to continue the discussion by adding your thoughts via the comments area on this page.
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Image credit: sushi♥ina, Flickr, CC-BY